The Centurions, by Patrick Murphy

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On Easter Monday 1905, the first three batsmen to score a century of first-class centuries took the field together: W G Grace, Tom Hayward and Jack Hobbs.

In August last year, Mark Ramprakash became the 25th to reach that pinnacle. And the last, argues Patrick Murphy, as the ascendancy of the one-day game means today's cricketers don't play enough of the longer form.

This could have been a prosaic cuttings job, but not only did Murphy talk to 14 of the 25, and call witnesses to bear, he also illuminates the eras in which they performed their stirring deeds. Hobbs the Surrey master reigns supreme with 197 hundreds, an astonishing 98 scored after his 40th birthday, but what stands out is how he and many others played for the joy of the game rather than statistics. How many of the 25 can you name? Is the author right in claiming only 10 were great?

Out with pen and paper and make a list, then check the answers. No prize, except the pleasure of reading a classic of cricket literature.

Published in hardback by Fairfield Books, £18

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